Quiz champion Brandon Blackwell joins The Chase Australia as The Lightning Bolt

The Chase Australia - Lightning Bolt

Blackwell, aka The Lightning Bolt, is regular in high-level quiz competitions around the world.

The Chase Australia will welcome its newest Chaser to the afternoon quiz show from Monday, 26 February, at 5.00pm on Channel 7 and 7plus.

Brandon Blackwell, aka The Lightning Bolt, is regular in high-level quiz competitions around the world. He is a World Speed Quizzing Champion and is one of the highest-scoring players of all time on the prestigious British quiz show University Challenge. He also secured second place in the under-30 World Quizzing Championship in 2020.

Blackwell, a familiar face on The Chase America, joins a formidable line-up of Chasers: The Shark (Brydon Coverdale), Goliath (Matt Parkinson), The Supernerd (Issa Schultz), The Governess (Anne Hegerty), The Tiger Mum (Cheryl Toh) and The Beast (Mark Labbett)

“I’ll beat you before you even turn up,” Blackwell said.

The Chase Australia is an ITV Studios Australia production for the Seven Network based on the original ITV quiz show.

Brandon Blackwell aka The Lightning Bolt

The late afternoon slot remains a crucial set-piece for the networks heading into the nightly news and primetime. Last month, Mediaweek asked media buyers if the launch of Deal or No Deal on 10 or The Tipping Point on Nine will give either network the edge over Seven?

Peter Stowe, senior trading director at UM Australia, told Mediaweek that since its debut in 2015, The Chase has consistently dominated its 5pm timeslot in metro markets and developed a core loyal audience.

Part of the quiz show’s strength is its host of three yearsLarry Emdur. Stowe said: “A lot of media buyers would have grown up watching him. He’s been around for a very long time. He’s a household name and a trusted family man.”

Michelle Hartley, investment director at Half Dome, said the new shows could “initially” threaten The Chase’s dominance but did not foresee it as long-term. “People might try all the other programmes, but they’ll return to The Chase.”

Thomas Macerola, Sydney head of investment at Zenith Media, called The Chase “a behemoth that dominates” in the genre in the Australian market and has created a loyal cult following with its viewers.

“Will the new entrants impact the program’s dominance? We may see fluctuations early in the year as new entrants are introduced. Still, I don’t believe it will significantly impact the viewership in the long run,” he said.

See also: Can Nine and 10 steal share from Seven with new shows?

Top image: Brandon Blackwell aka The Lightning Bolt

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